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Ball Don't Lie

Chris Copeland signs an offer sheet with Indiana after the team Photoshopped him into an ESPN Mag cover

This isn’t a new exercise, teams have been Photoshopping potential free agents into would-be uniforms as part of a free agent pitch for years, but it’s still cool to see. Chris Copeland has signed an offer sheet with the Indiana Pacers, and before doing so the Pacers sent him this gift box. From ESPN’s Ian Begley:

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(Courtesy Twitter.com/IanBegley)

The NBA’s most recent Collective Bargaining Agreement, one that New York Knick owner James Dolan voted against, has cost the Knicks a budding contributor. Copeland, who came out of obscurity to play excellent minutes (some would say, not enough minutes) for the Knicks down the stretch of 2012-13, and the Knicks clearly wanted to keep him. Because of luxury tax complications, the Knicks are forbidden from matching the two years and $6.1 million the Pacers have offered him.

Copeland is a D-League alum that couldn’t even hook on with some of the better leagues that international basketball has to offer, playing in outposts like Belgium and the Netherlands before catching on with New York as a long range shooter and active defender. Not unlike Andre Iguodala, Copeland will be choosing to spend his prime years with the team that knocked out of the playoffs last year. And as Dan Devine noted on Wednesday, he’ll have plenty of scratch to bronze that infamous “rookie” (Copeland is 28 years old) backpack after this deal.

Indiana’s biggest weakness in its run to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals was its depth, and in acquiring both C.J. Watson and eventually Copeland, the team has smartly shored up that pine with players that should fit right into Frank Vogel’s system. Toss in the acquisition of Nate McMillan as an associate head coach, and you’ve had a pretty successful start to the offseason for the Pacers, who still could utilize the returning Danny Granger as a trade chip before camp starts in the fall.

No word on whether or not ESPN Magazine plans on featuring Copeland on their NBA preview issue in October.

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